Kasich– too sane for the GOP?

I enjoyed John Kasich’s interview on NPR this morning while driving my oldest to school. He marked how much more sane and reasonable Kasich sounded than his other competitors.  Yes, I explained, that is why he is near the bottom of the polls.  The GOP primary electorate is many things.  Sane and reasonable are not near the top of that list.  From NPR:

“Look, we’re hearing all kinds of crazy things right now on the campaign trail,” Kasich added. “One of the guys wants to abolish Medicare and Medicaid. Another guy wants to deport 10 million people out of America.”

There, Kasich was referring to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who recently talked about replacing Medicare and medicaid with private health savings accounts, but later insisted he wasn’t proposing the elimination of the programs. Kasich also sounded like he was calling out Trump, who has repeatedly talked about deporting millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

But Kasich refused to attack them directly. When pressed on who he was referring to, Kasich said, “Everybody wants me to start attacking people by name. You all figure out who I’m talking about.” …

The battle for the Republican nomination is fought state-by-state. Kasich has not been investing much in Iowa, which is dominated by religious conservatives who would not be likely to support him. New Hampshire is friendlier territory for more mainstream, establishment Republicans like Kasich.

He has been clear that it’s an important state for his campaign. But even in New Hampshire, Kasich is stuck in the middle of the pack. Trump and Carson dominate there, too.

So, what gives?

“Well, I think the people are unsettled,” Kasich said of GOP voters’ reticence to support establishment candidates. “I think they’re saying, ‘Ok, we’ve tried these folks and it hasn’t worked. And so, therefore we ought to look somewhere else.'”

The problem is that Kasich’s candidacy is predicated on his long record in government. He talks up his experience in Washington during the 1990s, when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee and the federal budget was balanced.

Of course, when you are looking to lead a party that has spent decades trying to make government not work and that is constantly telling us how horrible government is, perhaps it is not so surprising that this party’s activists don’t actually value successful government service.

Short version: you reap what you sow.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

3 Responses to Kasich– too sane for the GOP?

  1. Jon K says:

    Your son is pretty astute to pick up that Kasich is the only reasonable republican running for president. I just can’t believe that Carson will stand up to scrutiny he has said too many nutty things and they are all on youtube. I could make the commercials myself and you just need to play back his own words. When republicans get serious I really think Kasich might be the last man standing. If it is clear we don’t want another bush, and we don’t want crazy, then that leaves Kasich and ?. Otherwise the republicans will nominate someone that moderates and independents won’t vote for. That will be a landslide loss and the party will have to rebuild itself to remain relevant.

  2. r. jenrette says:

    Which one of those is the most likely to stand up to the big donors who expect a return on their money? It’s good to be sane and reasonable but how can anyone serve as President without being in debt to the the big donors? Self funded billionaires don’t serve democracy either.
    If we don’t reverse Citizens United constitutionally and also set up a federal campaign funding system, at least for President, our democracy can never be great again.

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